Carolina Panthers Draft Picks 2022: Ikem Ekwonu improves Carolina’s offense immensly

For what felt like years, the Carolina Panthers and their 2022 NFL Draft picks were seen as potential players in the Deshaun Watson saga. As the Watson saga carried on ahead of the NFL’s new 2022 league year, so did the Panthers’ involvement. Now, as the dust has settled, the shape of the league and specifically the 2022 NFL Draft have a new look with Watson in Cleveland and the Panthers left with their current quarterback dilemma.

After failing to acquire Watson, here is what the Panthers are left with in terms of 2022 NFL Draft picks and needs.

Carolina Panthers draft picks in 2022

  • Round 1 | Pick 6
    Ikem Ekwonu, OT, NC State
  • Round 3 | Pick 94 (from KC via NE)
    Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss
  • Round 4 | Pick 120 (from NO via WAS)
    Brandon Smith, LB, Penn State
  • Round 6 | Pick 189 (from WAS)
    Amaré Barno, EDGE, Virginia Tech
  • Round 6 | Pick 199 (from LV)
    Cade Mays, G, Tennessee
  • Round 7 | Pick 242 (from NE via MIA)
    Kalon Barnes, CB, Baylor

The Panthers were able to steer clear and maintain their first pick at No. 6 overall in the 2022 NFL Draft after Watson chose to be traded to the Browns. They utilized that pick on a big need by taking Ikem Ekwonu at No. 6 overall. It was largely seen as a lock after the draft started with five straight defensive players selected, but it came to fruition when the Panthers seemingly ran their selection of Ekwonu in. He fits a huge hole and presents massive upside at left tackle.

Aside from that, Carolina opened the draft with a few Day 3 picks including two fifth-round selections within six picks of each other. There are more than enough players in a stacked 2022 NFL Draft class that should be available for the Panthers to build their roster.

Carolina Panthers 2022 NFL Draft team needs

As you’d imagine, the Panthers’ top need was certainly the quarterback position this offseason. That is, of course, the biggest reason why they had been players to acquire Watson for quite some time now. Carolina also had a large list of needs, specifically linked to the offensive line, that they had to tend to this offseason.

With Watson off the table, their needs remain the same.

  • Quarterback
  • Offensive Tackle
  • Center
  • Offensive Guard
  • Cornerback

Cam Mellor is the Senior Director of the College Football/NFL Draft vertical for Pro Football Network. You can find his writing here. Follow him on Twitter: @CamMellor.

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